Category Archives: evolution

Genie Scott at Kamloops: How do you get people to accept evolution, and is theistic evolution “science”?

Dr. Eugenie Scott, former head of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) and known as “Genie” to everyone, gave the keynote address on Sunday at the Kamloops “Imagine No Religion” meeting. Her title was “Why do people reject good science? Reflections on the evolution and climate science wars.” And it was a good talk, […]

Fantastic and plastic mimicry in a tropical vine

Well if this doesn’t beat all!  There are flowers that mimic insects, and insects that mimic flowers, and even plants that mimic stones (Lithops) to hide them from predators, but this is the first time I’ve heard of a plant mimicking another plant. Not only that, but the mimic, a vine, can modify its leaves […]

Researchers report female cave insect with grasping penis, leads to accusations of sexist science

The interesting stuff in this post is the biology, and the subsequent controversy about whether these female cave insects really have “penises,” is an ancillary and unpredictable result of politically correct policing of internet science. But first let me tell you about the science. In a new paper in Current Biology by Kazunori Yoshizawa et al. (abstract […]

The grasping reflex of babies: a vestigial trait?

This is the type of post I originally intended to publish on this website, and the only type of post, for the website was created, at the behest of my editor at Viking/Penguin, to support my book WEIT. My idea then was to post a bit of cool evidence for evolution every few weeks or so. Then things got […]

Batesian mimicry of proselytizers

On his website Evolving Perspectives, Reader Pliny the In Between—perhaps inspired by yesterday’s posts on mimicry and Alabama’s banning of sex toys—has created this nice cartoon that he calls “Batesian mimicry”. A biological digression: Now if you don’t understand the title, Batesian mimicry is an evolutionary phenomenon whereby a conspicuously colored or patterned toxic individual, called a “model,” is […]

Kenneth Miller sells book on consciousness—and its evolution

A reader sent me this notice from an online magazine called Publisher’s Lunch, which reports weekly on recent book deals. This week it reported a sale of a new book by Kenneth Miller, biochemistry professor at Brown, co-author of a best-selling biology textbook, strident anti-creationist (author of the anti-ID Only a Theory), accommodationist (author of Finding Darwin’s God), […]

Caturday felid: “Methinks it is like a catcerto”

Today we have a rare guest Caturday felid; I can’t remember one since I started this site five years ago (has it really been that long?). So here’s Greg’s contribution, which shows a concerto (“Catcerto”) composed by Mindaugas Piecaitis to embellish and complement the playing of Nora the famous piano-playing cat. (The score for “Catcerto” can […]

The “selfish gene” redux: Aeon magazine collects opinion on the metaphor

Last December, David Dobbs published a jeremiad in Aeon magazine called “Die, selfish gene, die”.  And I criticized it in two posts (here and here), while Richard Dawkins, who of course coined the term “selfish gene,” and Steven Pinker also took issue with it. I’ll summarize Dobb’s original thesis by quoting my initial post on it: At […]

The evolution of tetrapods

I’m not sure whether this cartoon implies divine intervention and a form of theistic evolution: h/t: from Off the Mark, by Mark Parisi, via reader js

New book on Darwinian medicine

I’d like to call attention to a new book on “Darwinian medicine” by my Chicago colleague Bob Perlman, an MD/Ph.D. in the Department of Pediatrics and Pharmacological Sciences. As you probably know, “Dawinian medicine” uses the principles of evolutionary theory to understand and treat disease.  The book, Evolution and Medicine, is published by Oxford University […]


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